Chippewa Valley Concert Band Celebrates 25th Season

Abby Norton

As holiday season nears, you may find yourself with Thanksgiving or even Christmas on the brain. If you’re looking for something to daydream about other than Mom’s cooking or tacky (endearing?) decorations, perhaps music is what you’re missing. Members of the Chippewa Valley Concert Band have no shortage of things to celebrate – they will soon be toasting to 25 years of performances. The band will commemorate their work throughout the years with a performance at Mayo Clinic’s Luther Campus auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2pm. Founded in 1993 by Dr. Donald S. George and Steve Haakenson, the group was organized to give adults in the community the opportunity to play instruments and foster their talent. And, put frankly, “They wanted something to do when they retired,” the band’s current director Ron Gard said. The Chippewa Valley Concert Band typically plays 3 concerts a year; one performance aligns with Veteran’s Day, another with Christmas, and a final concert is performed in the spring. November’s anniversary concert, which place on Veteran’s Day, will feature carefully-selected tunes that Gard believes former director Dr. Donald S. George would have played. And after 25 years, what fills Gard with pride? It’s the fact that the band has played for so long, Gard said of the band. “It’s been a wonderful group to work with, all community people,” he said. Musicians range from college students, music educators, retirees, and more, with the only requirements for membership being that an individual is at least 18 years old and no longer in high school – and, of course, participants need to have an instrument. Currently, the band has about 65 musicians, but encourages new members to inquire. The band’s goal for the future is a simple one. “We hope to continue going for another 25 years,” Gard said. “We’re always looking for new players.”